Homeland security funding coming to peninsula borough

Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Funding from the state Division of Homeland Security is coming to the Kenai Peninsula.

Two ordinances to be introduced at today's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting would accept and appropriate a pair of grants from the state agency for security measures within the borough.

Ordinance 2002-19-36, would appropriate a $14,000 grant to develop community emergency response teams, or CERTs.

Ordinance 2002-19-37 appropriates another grant of $27,937 to update the borough's Disaster Emergency Operations Plan.

Both are scheduled for public hearings May 6.

The $14,000 grant will be used to provide response team training, which will include disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations and light search and rescue operations, said Bonnie L. Golden, borough grants manager.

"Initially, first responders would complete a CERT Train-The-Trainer course, then these trained instructors would teach the local CERT members," she said in a memo to the assembly.

"It is the opinion of the Borough's Office of Emergency Management that having trained, local volunteers would enhance the borough's response capabilities in the event of a disaster," she said.

The other grant is aimed at operations planning for all types of emergencies. Funds may be used for updating local emergency response plans. The Division of Homeland Security is expecting an updated disaster plan from the borough by Dec. 1, 2003, Golden said. It was last updated in October 1997.

"The plan should be updated to provide the most accurate and complete information and procedures available in responding to local emergency disasters," she said in a memo to the assembly. "An up-to-date disaster operations plan will provide operating procedures that include use of current technology that can assist in a timely, safe and efficient response to disasters."

An earlier resolution provided the OEM with funding to draft a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. OEM will develop the mitigation plan and the operations plan simultaneously, Golden said.

The assembly also is expected to adopt Ordinance 2003-07, which amends the borough code covering the Emergency Services Communications System to revise membership on the board and clarify emergency communications authority.

Also, the assembly will consider Resolution 2003-037 requesting state Safe Communities funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development. Borough Finance Director Jeff Sinz said it was estimated that some $562,096 would be included for the state program in the fiscal year 2004 proposed budget.

In other business, the assembly is expected to approve Resolution 2003-035 supporting passage of Senate Bill 136, which would raise the current optional property tax exemption from $10,000 to $50,000.

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